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Top DOE Spending Official Cleared of Abuse of Power

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The U.S. Energy Dept.’s inspector general on Dec. 30 cleared a top DOE official in charge of overseeing the agency’s $6 billion of stimulus spending of abusing her authority related to spending at the agency’s Savannah River site in Aiken, S.C. But investigators said they found a toxic work atmosphere at the facility, poisoned by charges of “racism and reverse discrimination.” In a three-page report, Inspector General Gregory Friedman said he found no conclusive evidence that the official, Cynthia Anderson, engaged in any wrongdoing. She was not identified by name in the version of the report publicly released. But according to multiple sources at DOE and on Capitol Hill, the probe was prompted by a whistleblower’s anonymous complaint last September alleging that Anderson, who is black, had improperly influenced hiring decisions for stimulus-funded cleanup jobs at SRS, among other things. In his report, Friedman said his office reviewed “multiple allegations concerning improprieties by a senior official,” but noted there was not enough definitive evidence to substantiate the charges. However, Friedman’s report blasts SRS management and local officials, claiming investigators found workers confused about lines of authority and responsibility, poor internal communications and a lack of follow-up on “critically important issues and decisions.”

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